Forecasting user visits for online display advertising

Mar 26, 2013

Abstract: Online display advertising is a multi-billion dollar industry where advertisers promote their products to users by having publishers display their advertisements on popular Web pages. An important problem in online advertising is how to forecast the number of user visits for a Web page during a particular period of time. Prior research addressed the problem by using traditional time-series forecasting techniques on historical data of user visits; (e.g., via a single regression model built for forecasting based on historical data for all Web pages) and did not fully explore the fact that different types of Web pages and different time stamps have different patterns of user visits. In this paper, we propose a series of probabilistic latent class models to automatically learn the underlying user visit patterns among multiple Web pages and multiple time stamps. The last (and the most effective) proposed model identifies latent groups/classes of (i) Web pages and (ii) time stamps with similar user visit patterns, and learns a specialized forecast model for each latent Web page and time stamp class. Compared with a single regression model as well as several other baselines, the proposed latent class model approach has the capability of differentiating the importance of different types of information across different classes of Web pages and time stamps, and therefore has much better modeling flexibility. An extensive set of experiments along with detailed analysis carried out on real-world data from Yahoo demonstrates the advantage of the proposed latent class models in forecasting online user visits in online display advertising.

  • Journal of Information Retrieval